Malaysian oil firm Petronas has signed an agreement with South Sudan, which will allow it to continue operations in oil blocks awarded by Sudan before the country was split.

Petronas will continue exploration and production work at Blocks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5A and 7, which had previously been secured with the government of Sudan, according to Malaysian state news agency, Bernama.

It has a 30 per cent stake in the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company, which works on Blocks 1, 2 and 4, and a 40 per cent stake in Blocks 3 and 7 through Petrodar Operating Company. Petronas also has another 68 per cent stake in Block 5A through White Nile Petroleum Operating Company.

Petronas’ partners include China National Petroleum Corporation, Sinopec, India’s Oil & Natural Gas Corporation and Egypt’s Tri-Ocean Energy.

International oil companies gathered in Khartoum on 15 January, to study data for six new oil blocks offered by Sudan. The licensing round is expected to take place in May (MEED 22:12:11).

Sudan currently produces 115,000 barrels a day (b/d), but hopes to increase production to 180,000 b/d by the end of the year.

South Sudan, which produces three quarters of Sudan’s 500,000 barrels a day of oil output, became an independent state in July last year after decades of civil war. The two are still locked in a dispute over oil revenues as South Sudan is forced to use Khartoum’s oil infrastructure to export its production.